A comment was made last night during small group, "serve and serve some more - that's what Jesus did."
It's such a short, small comment but very significant. I've had some issues recently laid upon my heart - but in all honesty, just don't either have the energy or courage to follow through with them.
However, as I listened to that comment - I realized that dying to self is about service and about trust.
Two issues - one with Ron and one with the LDS family I babysit.
Ron has become more scarce at the store, and with the holidays quickly approaching - I'm worried about him. He's severely depressed and longs simply for his family, of whom he is too ashamed to return to in Utah. Recently, as I swept the floors at the c-store, a small voice whispered in my head to invite him to Christmas dinner and Christmas Eve services at Grace Point. In all honesty, it makes me very uncomfortable. Not to bring him to Grace Point - but rather to have in our home. It's something that Steve and I need to ponder in prayer and discern that this really is from God.
Second, the family I babysit for. They are always seemingly in the middle of one crisis or another - usually financially. Yet, today I was exposed to just how frail and shattered their lives are becoming. I was amazed at how many hours they are working - the mother works 12 hours a day due to new stores opening, visiting corporate big heads, and so forth. The dad is working from 5:30 in the morning until he picks up the kids from scattered locations around town, takes care of them, and returns to work for a few hours when the mom comes home around 10:30/11 pm. In short - their lives have rapidly deteriorated due to the lack of sleep, overworking, and martial stress. These are just to name a few. Add into the pot, the mom is pregnant - not due until Feb and is contracting already. And I thought I was overworked? Yesh! I don't know how either of them do it. So after listening to her vent session and trying my best to comfort someone who had long ago, stopped really being my friend she left, tired, and still discouraged for work. My first thought was to contact the RS President and Compassionate Service Leader and inform them briefly and generally of the situation and ask that they serve this family - as are their "callings" in the LDS church.
However, as I was pondering "passing the buck" so to speak, that small voice clearly laid a new idea on me. "Why ask the LDS church? That simply reaffirms her faith in the LDS church and not Jesus. Why not gather the various Christian women you know and serve her yourself?" I'm tired almost all the time - almost fell asleep during small group last night - and now I am called to serve a family I've been at odds with for months now? Eh! Why?
But as the idea unrolled in my mind more - I realized that the Holy Spirit was right (of course). As I've been reading in my Ensign and discussed in past conversations - the draw of the LDS church is community, organization, and service. Everyone knows these things about the LDS church. The Mormon missionaries will mow your lawn and not ask for anything in return. Even now, my best friend who just had her baby back in NC jokes about how in times like these, she wishes she were a Mormon. The RS would have meals prepared for her, someone would be watching her toddler so her husband could have been with her while she labored, and even clean her home for her. Yet, I've not really seen a Christian church that can even shadow this kind of community, organization, and service within their folds.
So, if a Latter Day Saint is really only a Mormon because of the cultural perks - service, community, great way to raise a family, and so forth - then what hope really is there of withdrawing someone from the temporal perks to the eternal benefit of Jesus as one's companion? And to be clear, I feel very strongly after knowing this family for a year - that they are simply cultural Mormons. They don't seem to incorporate Jesus into their daily living, they don't seem to have a dependency on Him, and they never discuss the LDS church - even when I was Mormon.
Regardless if they are LDS or Mainstream Christians - when life gets crazy, if you don't have Jesus as your Rock - you're bound to go crazy with it. While listening to her story, I just kept thinking over and over - "You need Jesus". There is no problem too big for Him.
Timidly - I sent out an email asking for help to serve this family. My ideal is that someone babysit their three kids so that Mom and Dad can have an afternoon to themselves, some of us clean their home and possibly do their laundry, and bring in at least one meal - preferably two or three. This gives the family the weekend to recoup, possibly spend time together, truely rest from the world. And in the fashion I've learned from the LDS church itself, and Grace Point by amazing example - leave it at that. I'd want to invite them to church - but I don't want them to think that getting them to GP is my ultimate agenda.
I want them to simply feel God's love for them, to see Jesus in other people, and possibly - just maybe, want to experience Him in their daily lives. So far, I've been pleasantly surprised - I was really worried no one would reply to my mass email explaining my idea and almost begging for help - yet already I've received 2 replies from women who have said they will help.
Here's hoping we can get a few more women on board and really bless this family. Now, hopefully God will make it more clear the "prompting" about Ron... and maybe just maybe, give me some courage with it?